Earvin "Magic" Johnson's stunning disclosure that he has contracted the HIV virus hasn't really sunk in yet, but PR experts and AIDS activists are already debating how best to use his broad appeal to fight AIDS. Most applaud Johnson's plans to preach a message of "safe sex" to young people. "He can speak to the heterosexual and black population," says media consultant Tony Schwartz.
But activists also hope that the Los Angeles Lakers star will press for more government research funding. "He's got to go to Congress and shake a lot of hands," says activist Larry Kramer.
Magic has already had an impact: Fox Broadcasting said on Nov. 12 that it would air ads for condoms. And Converse, whose sneakers Magic endorses, has launched an anti-AIDS ad campaign.